A slightly sweet, tender fruit covered with a shiny skin that comes in a variety of colours, shapes, and sizes. Ralph’s Farm Market offers the most popular, purple with an off-white spongy flesh. Desired for its deeply purple, glossy appearance as well as its unique taste and meaty texture.
Eggplants are now available throughout the year. However, since it requires a long, warm growing season, it is most plentiful in late summer to fall. The eggplant actually becomes bitter as it ages so use it promptly. The older the eggplant, the tougher the skin.
Choose firm, plump, smooth, unbroken skin, smaller eggplant. The lighter an eggplant is for its size, the fewer seeds it is likely to possess. In fact more seeds tends to indicate a more bitter taste. Another good test is to gently press with your finger. If the indentation remains, tthe eggplant is probably past its prime. Lastly, the greenish-brown cap and stem should be clean, dry, and firmly attached.
If desiring less seeds, select the younger, male eggplants. Look for a round shallow indentation on the bottom for a male, in contrast to the femaless deep dash shaped indentations.
Keep cool and dry, and use within a day or two of purchasing, or wrap in plastic and store in the refrigerator for up to five days. Placing in a paper bag will help to draw away moisture.
Rinse and pat dry. Discard the stem. If it is young, the skin is edible. As it ages, the skin becomes bitter and may need peeling.
Cut eggplant just before cooking, salt, and let it drain for 30 minutes to draw out some of the moisture – called weeping to remove any bitter flavour. Since eggplant is like a sponge and will soak up oil, the purging will help it not soak up quite as much oil. Just slice, lie on a cookie cooling rack over the sink, sprinkle liberally with salt, let sit for an hour, turn and repeat. You can let them sit for 3 or more hours. Then rinse to get off all the salt and squeeze to ring out all the moisture. Ready to use after patting dry with a tea towel.
Here are some delicious ideas to try:
- A great way to stretch ground beef, as the eggplant disappears into the dish and absorbs flavour of other foods.
- Sauté onions, add garlic and small, diced eggplant; cook until done. Then sauté the beef and mix it all together with a can of diced tomatoes, a little cinnamon, salt, and pepper. Use this as a stuffing in a summer squash or serve over pasta or rice.
- Another simple favourite is to cut eggplant into cubes and bake in tomato sauce with onions, garlic, and fresh oregano.
- Add the cut up pieces to a bowl of water with a tablespoon of milk to retain the vibrant colour without becoming black.
- One medium sized eggplant is considered 1 pound, equalling about 3 or 4 cups of diced eggplant.
Amazingly ow in calories with its 95% water content. It is a good source of fiber, folic acid, manganese, thiamin, Vitamin B6, magnesium and potassium; it also has Vitamin C, Niacin, Iron, some protein, and pantothenic acid. Of course, an excellent antioxidant with its purple shade.
Eggplant (cubed, raw), 1 cup (200g)
Total Fat: 0.15g
- The Nightshade vegetable family consists of potatoes, tomatoes, sweet peppers, and eggplant. There are a couple of reasons why they are actually fruit:
- The seeds and germination: Fruits have seeds that develop from the ‘ovaries’ of flowers.
- Also, when fruit is harvested, the plant remains alive. In contrast, vegetables are the entire plant, so there’s nothing left once it is picked and eaten.
- Other well-known vegetables that are really fruit include okra, cucumber, summer squash, and hard squash.
- A popular beauty tip in the Orient’s history is the use of the peel as dye to stain women’s teeth gray.
- Other names for eggplant are Aubergine, Garden Egg, and Brinjal.